It’s a new year and it’s time to get in shape! You might think that the gym should be your first stop when you’re looking to start a new exercise habit. After all, that’s where all the heavy lifting machines and free weights are, right?
While it’s true that there’s a lot to be learned from the gym, your best resource for getting fit may be right outside your door.
Keep reading to find out why exercising outdoors may be better for you than you know!
1. It’s Free!
The biggest perk to outdoor exercise activities is that it’s free. You don’t have to worry about paying gym fees or buying expensive equipment on your own.
Of course, there are tons of classes you can sign up for that meet outside. But they’re generally less expensive than a monthly gym membership. You can also gain all the other awesome benefits for less!
2. Natural Anti-Depressant
According to the Harvard Medical School, getting back into nature can help alleviate the symptoms of depression. People who spend more time exercising in nature have less activity in their prefrontal cortex. This is an area of the brain that is active when we overthink things or spend our time living in cyclical thoughts.
Of course, there’s no substitution for treatment from a licensed therapist. But when you couple outdoor exercise activities with regular treatment, you’ve got a recipe for success.
3. Vitamin D Boost
Your body needs vitamin D to help you absorb calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. It helps to keep your bones and teeth healthy and strong. One of the best ways you can help your body absorb vitamin D is by getting regular sunlight.
Of course, it’s still wise to wear sun protection when you’re exercising outside.
The best time to get to an outdoor exercise park to reap the vitamin D benefit is around midday. The sun is at its highest point and the UVB rays are at their strongest. So, you’ll need less time outside to really get the most out of your workout.
4. Improved Concentration
Some studies of children with ADHD find that they actually focus better when they’re outside. Sometimes, all you need is a break from your daily routine to kick yourself into high gear.
If you’ve been working out indoors for the last year, maybe now’s a good time to try something new. Getting outdoors may be the thing you need to start hyper-focusing on your workout so you can really start seeing results.
5. Feel Better About Yourself
Spending just five minutes outside a day can help improve your self-esteem. When you couple this with the self-esteem boost you get from working out, you’ll notice that you feel better about yourself day by day.
Try to exercise somewhere with lots of sunlight and greenery, away from large buildings and houses if possible. While any time outside is a good thing, you’ll notice the effects more when you try to really dig into nature.
6. It’s Easy to Get There
Another great thing about outdoor exercise is that you don’t have to travel very far to get there. Even if you live in the city, most cities have parks available so you can connect with nature without driving too far.
When you take the opportunity to exercise outside, you’re also helping to eliminate the greenhouse gasses associated with traveling to and from the gym.
If you attend an outdoor class, consider walking if it’s a safe distance! This will help you warm up for your class and is better for you and the environment.
7. You’ll Connect With Nature
In Japan and China, there’s a popular practice known as forest bathing. It’s simply the practice of spending some quiet time in a forest. There are loads of studies and research that support the fact that spending time in forests is good for your health.
Forests are also great ways to challenge yourself. They’re not like a treadmill where your pace and incline are determined by a machine. You have to be able to access different muscle groups to stay stable on rocky terrain and set your own pace.
There are hiking trails out there for all ability levels. No matter where you’re at on your fitness journey, you’ll be able to find a hike that works for you.
8. COVID-19 Safe Gatherings
Many gyms and activity centers have loads of rules surrounding the gathering of people. Exercise classes and groups have had to limit the number of people they can admit and many places require that you wear a mask, which can be uncomfortable as you exercise.
Outdoor exercise activities have much fewer restrictions. You can gather with your friends and family in a safe environment. You could outdoor exercise classes as a way to reconnect with family members you’ve had to spend time away from this past year!
There are lots of benefits to working out with a group as well!
9. Better Than Coffee
Lastly, exercising outdoors can be a better energy boost for you than a cup of coffee. With all the other benefits we’ve mentioned, you’ll end your exercise feeling like you did something wonderful for yourself. But exercising outside also gives you an energy boost that can keep you going for the rest of the day.
Start Exercising Outdoors Today!
Now that you know the benefits of exercising outdoors, you can find an outdoor exercise activity that works with your fitness levels. There are loads of classes for different ability levels that can help get you in shape while also granting you the benefits of being outdoors!
For more information on how to find a class that suits you, or more information on how exercising outdoors is good for your help, contact us today!